Acer japonicum
Common name: 
Fullmoon Maple
A-ser ja-PON-i-kum
Sapindaceae, Aceraceae
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Broadleaf deciduous small tree or shrub, 30-40 ft (10-12 m) in good growing conditions; branches dark gray-brown and smooth.  Leaves simple, opposite, 8-15 cm wide, roundish, 7-9(11) lobed, each cut to within halfway to the center (petiole), margins serrate.  Flowers in large drooping clusters (corymbs), purplish red, appearing before leaves.  Fruit in clusters hanging below the leaves, wings (samaras) about 3 cm long.
  • Sun or shade
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 6     Native to the mountain forests of Japan, most of Honshu Island and a large part of Hokkaido Island (van Gelderen and van Gelderen, 1999).
  • The species type is rarely cultivated but a number of selections are available, the most common one being ‘Aconitifolium’:
    • ‘Aconitifolium’  -  16-20 ft (5-6 m) high with an equal spread, leaves green, 9-11 lobes which are further and deeply divided giving a fernlike appearance, fall color is crimson.
    • ‘Green Cascade’  -  a shrub that may reach 4 ft (1.2 m) in 10 years, spreading form if not staked; leaves green, smaller but similar in shape to those of ‘Aconitifolium’, good fall color, red, orange and yellow.
    • ‘Ogurayama’  -  may reach 13 ft (4 m) in time, round-topped habit, leaves have7-11 lobes, incised to about halfway to the petiole, fall leaf color is scarlet with rich orange.  Van Gelderen and van Gelderen (1999) list it as Acer sieboldianum ‘Ogura yama’ and it is sometime given as Acer shirasawanum ‘Ogura yama’.
    • ‘Vitifolium’  -  a shrubby tree to 30-50 ft (~10-15 m) tall, deep green leaves are large and to some resemble grape leaves (Vitis), 9-11 lobes, each separated almost halfway to the petiole, fall color is predominately gold but mixed with scarlet and crimson.  Received the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 1984.
  • For other selections see van Gelderen and van Gelderen (1999) and Vertrees (1987 and later) or catalogs or websites of "specialty nurseries".


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  • Acer japonicum

    Acer japonicum